Tamarisk are an introduced species from Eurasia and Africa. Also known as Salt Cedar, Tamarisk are able to survive and thrive in dry environments.
Originally planted for shade and wind protection around the homestead and shearing shed precinct back when Hamelin was a working sheep station, Tamarisk is considered a weed of national significance.
Tamarisk consists of about 50 species of flowering plants in the family Tamaricaceae, and they're among Australia’s most harmful invasive species:
- The plant’s long tap roots reach underground aquifers and draw up salt,
- Leaves and stems secrete a high concentration of salt into the ground preventing growth of native plants
- Wildlife is affected due to the lack of protein in the plant which renders it unfit for consumption.
Impact to infrastructure:
- Roots undermine building foundations and cause cracking to walls – (in photo 1 cracking can be seen on the wall to the right of the green door of the Homestead storeroom)
- Salt drips off the leaves and rusts the roofing iron and spouting,
- Salt gets into our drinking water and contaminates it,
- Leaves drop regularly and block the gutters.
On a positive note, Tamarisk are extremely unlikely to spread in the arid conditions at Hamelin, so we haven't tackled their removal as an initial priority. Now that more urgent jobs, like freshwater capture and storage, bore water plumbing and the solar power system have been addressed, we're able to start tackling the tamarisks.
We also planted many new eucalypt seedlings around the precinct before we started removing the tamarisks – we want to be able to provide good quality habitat and shade for native animals.
Our recent project was to remove the Tamarisk overhanging the Hamelin Manager’s cottage and carport. The trees have lifted the concrete paving of the cottage’s verandah and are growing very close to the power line between the homestead and cottage, impacting drinking water collection the roof and gutters.